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Saints' minister of mean reveres Pats coach

Posted by Albert Breer  February 4, 2010 08:08 AM

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"Every play’s an interview, every day’s an interview, and if you don’t interview well, what gives you the right to play? That’s been a fairness thing that these guys have bought into. They’re harder on themselves than any meeting when I get up and dog-cuss them about it. They’re hard on themselves because they want that trust where if they miss a tackle, they’ve got 10 brothers cleaning it up. We’ve done a pretty good job of that."

Are they perfect? Of course not. The Saints are still just 25th in the league in total defense.

But they do play by Williams' credo: "Live on the edge, play on the edge, never hurt the team." It has produced 39 takeaways and a league-leading eight defensive touchdowns. There have been issues, too (league-leading 13 personal fouls), but overall, Williams seems to be getting the desired effect, which means Payton's getting what he was looking for in hiring him.

"We’re talking about this: First guy blows ’em up, second guy cleans ’em up," Williams said, talking about his philosophy on takeaways. "And that’s what we’re looking to do. Again, they’ve played for a lot of coaches. When I walked in the first day in the first meeting in offseason conditioning, on April the 1st, there were a lot of things to be covered in that 30-minute meeting. One of the things I covered was: There will not be an excuse, by anybody in this room, about having a coach slow you down.

"There will not be an excuse about wishing you played for a coach that would let you play, that would encourage aggressiveness the way I’d encourage aggressiveness. All my life, I’ve been trying to speed players up, toughen players up, nasty players up, and I promise you if we live on the edge, and play on the edge, I’ll grab you before you fall off.

"When you’re about to fall off that edge and cause our team to get hurt, I’ll grab you by the pants, we’ll have a chit-chat, I’ll settle you down. But until you get there, we can’t be good, and you have to climb to that edge."

Not hard to see why those players want to run through a brick wall for this guy, I'll tell you that.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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